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Laguna Beach continues to oppose commercialization of recreational cannabis

Published On: 05-16-2017 in Category: Drug Abuse, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana

The Laguna Beach City Council has maintained its uncompromising position opposing both the medical and recreational cannabis business industry. On April 11, 2017, all council members unanimously supported a proposed ordinance that would put a ban on cultivation, distribution and sales of recreational cannabis for commercial purposes. Notably, California legalized the recreational use of marijuana with the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.

According to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, cities may issue bans on cannabis business establishments, though an individual may grow up to six plants within a private residence for personal use as long as they are not discernably visible from a public place. In that same election, the voters in Laguna rejected “Measure KK”– a ballot measure that would have removed the present ban on medical marijuana dispensaries and allowed up to two dispensaries.

Officials believe that the sales of recreational cannabis in Laguna Beach have the potential to attract unwanted criminal activity and a high volume of traffic to the city. In fact, they had voiced the same concerns last year regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. Some residents of the city urged the council to reconsider their decision while lauding the medicinal benefits of cannabis for patients with certain health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Citing Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act that was passed way back in 1996, a city resident complained about the lack of compassion. However, Laguna Beach Police Chief Laura Farinella said the ordinance would not interfere with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which permits an individual 21 years or older to purchase marijuana and give it to another adult.

Marijuana cultivation in California is on the rise

California was always known as a major cannabis-cultivating state even before it decriminalized the recreational use of the drug. California has several million acres of national forests and a lot of marijuana is grown in the vast outdoors on public lands, where cultivators take advantage of the large expanses of remote wilderness. Across Orange County, the most popular drug is marijuana. National studies suggest that more than half of juniors and seniors admit to have been given or offered marijuana at school. And, around 5 percent smokes it every day.

In the wake of the growing popularity of the pro-cannabis campaigns that insist on decriminalization of the drug, many fear that harmful and addictive nature of cannabis will get sidelined. Studies suggest that it is almost impossible to grow up in the United States and not be exposed to marijuana. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither recognized nor approved the therapeutic value of marijuana. It continues to be classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act owing to its high potential for abuse. The steady spike in marijuana addiction rates across the state can be attributed to the growing ease of availability, perceived harmlessness and the social popularity of the drug across all sections of society.

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